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The Thunderbolt Pony
Written by Stacey Gregg
Twelve-year-old Evie has a lot on her plate as she comes to terms with the death of her father and battles her own demon of OCD. When an earthquake strikes her home in rural New Zealand, her injured mother is rescued by helicopter. Evie, however, will not leave her precious pets and so decides to travel overland to the port of Kaikoura to escape by boat. She faces a race against time to escape disaster and bring her beloved pony, Gus, to safety, as well as her faithful dog and feisty cat.
Stacey Gregg paints a powerful picture of the physical landscape in turmoil, deftly mirroring Evie's inner landscape. As she faces trials and suffering on her journey, the reader witnesses Evie's strength while confronting her internal challenges too. The animal characters are skilfully portrayed, and the bond that Evie enjoys with them is powerful and believable. As tension builds the reader's commitment to Evie grows and the conclusion, although predictable, is satisfying through being hard won. An enjoyable and rewarding read, not just for pony lovers.